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Faculty Reading Group: The Wastelands Seminar

This reading group continues the Wastelands Seminar, which was first established in 2014, in support of the 2017-18 Mellon Sawyer Seminar, Grounding the Ecocritical: Materializing Wastelands and Living on in the Middle East. The participants include scholars of history, anthropology, literary studies, and ethnomusicology and share research specializations ranging across the regions of Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, Eastern Europe, North America, and South Asia.  


The Wastelands Seminar is open to faculty, researchers, and postdoctoral fellows at Washington University in St. Louis. For more information and to participate, please contact the conveners at

In anticipation of Carl Zimring’s lecture on environmental racism, participants in the Mellon Sawyer Seminar gathered with Environmental Studies faculty to discuss Nancy Isenberg’s White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America.

During Valerie Olson’s visit, participants of the Mellon Sawyer Seminar watched the 2008 science fiction film Sleep Dealer directed by Alex Rivera. The film sparked an engaging conversation about automation and equity, the unevenness of globalization, borders and labor, and the violent production of wastelands.

Graduate Reading Group in the Environmental Humanities

The Fall 2017 Environmental Humanities Reading Group is an informal companion to the Grounding the Ecocritical Sawyer Seminar lecture series and film screenings. We meet about twice a month to discuss classic scholarly essays and important concepts and debates in the environmental humanities, work by the seminar’s invited speakers, and to workshop work-in-progress by the reading group’s participants. Readings will include texts by Anna Tsing, Elizabeth DeLoughrey, Wangari Maathai, Rob Nixon, Ann Stoler, Stacy Alaimo, Donna Haraway, Jason W. Moore, Zoe Todd, and many others. We will discuss topics such as ocean plastics, the racial Anthropocene, climate injustice, and the “environmentalism of the poor,” drawing on readings from feminist and queer theory, critical race studies, postcolonial and literary studies, and indigenous climate change studies.
Please contact the group convener, Dr. Vasiliki Touhouliotis, for further information.

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